City job cuts will progress despite $1.8M in funding

Spending nearly $2 million to prevent layoffs of about 100 workers during the holidays was approved Tuesday, but Mayor Gavin Newsom said the job cuts will go into effect anyway.

In the latest political battle between Newsom and members of the Board of Supervisors, the board voted 8-3 Tuesday to approve spending $1.8 million to prevent the laying off of certified nursing assistants and clerks for two months.

The decision, however, will apparently have little impact. The board cannot force Newsom to spend the money and the Mayor’s Office said the job cuts, which go into effect Tuesday, will move forward as planned.

About 100 of the workers will lose their jobs while hundreds of others will be reassigned and take pay cuts. These layoffs are among others implemented to balance the budget for the current fiscal year.

“Laying off anyone during the month of December it is a difficult decision,” Newsom spokesman Joe Arellano said. “But the mayor is not in a position to spend money The City does not have.”

The money would come from the Department of Public Health’s reserve dollars, although the department planned to spend that money on other salaries.

The City is facing a $45 million operating deficit this fiscal year and projects a $522.2 million deficit next fiscal year, which is expected to result in more layoffs.

Supervisors said these particular job cuts were “misguided” since they affect mostly women and people of color.

Supervisors initially proposed spending nearly $8 million to prevent the job cuts for the year. But that proposal was dropped for lack of support.

The politically charged proposal was heavily campaigned for by Service Employees International Union Local 1021, the labor union representing the most city workers. The union supports progressive members of the Board of Supervisors, who tend to battle with the more moderate Newsom.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who voted against the proposal along with Supervisors Carmen Chu and Michela Alito-Pier, said, “The mayor is not going to spend the money. You are giving these employees false hope. That is more than cruel and unusual punishment.”

“While we cannot control the mayor, at least we can send a very clear message about what our values are,” Supervisor David Campos said in response.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

 

 

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